Running a household smoothly is stressful enough on its own – the last thing you want is for problems like burst pipes to arise and spoil your day. Unfortunately, these plumbing emergencies can cause various issues inside your home. What’s worse is that they can happen anywhere in your house where water flows.
Knowing the common reasons for burst or frozen pipes is critical. Learning how to identify when a pipe is going to burst can also help you prevent such an emergency in the first place and preserve your property.
Common Reasons Why Pipes Burst
While pipes can last long, remember that they can also corrode over time. Metal water lines are vulnerable to slow-building corrosion from continuous water abuse over the years. When this happens, the pipes can corrode, develop cracks, and burst open.
While corrosion isn’t something you can prevent, there are ways to keep corroded pipes from wreaking havoc inside your home, including the following:
- Discoloration is a common sign of corrosion. If water from your faucets turns yellow or brownish, it’s best to call a professional to assess the situation as soon as possible.
- Install a water softener. The minerals found in hard water can slowly break down your metal pipes and cause severe damage.
- Consider replacing your old metal pipes with copper ones.
Shoddy installation is often overlooked but can be a possible cause of burst pipes. When someone lays your plumbing system without the necessary skills and experience, issues that make your water lines prone to bursting are likely to be present.
It could be that the person you hired rushed the job, used improper parts, or simply made a mistake. Whatever the reason, remember that a botched installation can easily lead to burst water lines, so it’s crucial that you entrust your installation only to certified plumbers.
Tree Root Encroachment
As trees grow, their roots spread further in the soil to anchor themselves and access water. These roots can extend until they reach your underground pipes. Unfortunately, most water pipes are not strong enough to withstand pressure from penetrating roots. As a result, when roots from nearby trees do reach them, they eventually rupture.
The most practical way to prevent tree root encroachment is to plant your new trees strategically – keep them as far away from your pipes as possible.
High Water Pressure
Your water lines can only withstand a certain level of water pressure. For most household pipes, the optimal water pressure falls between 40 to 45 psi. Going beyond 80 psi can make your plumbing pipes vulnerable to bursting at any time.
Hearing banging or knocking sounds from your pipes can signal a pressure surge within your water lines. This phenomenon is called a water hammer and is usually considered a safety hazard, so reporting your high pressure problem to your local water utility is crucial.
Water in your pipes can freeze and expand when temperatures drop to around 32 degrees Fahrenheit. Since ice takes up more space and has greater volume, the pressure inside the water lines increases. This pressure buildup eventually causes the pipe to burst.
Here are some ways to prevent frozen pipes and the damage they can cause:
- Turn on your faucets slightly to create a steady water flow and prevent pressure from building up.
- Insulate exposed water lines with foam sleeves or other insulating materials before the colder months come.
- Open cabinet doors below your sink to let warm air prevent your indoor pipes from freezing.
How To Identify When a Pipe Is Going To Burst
Water pipes do not generally make gurgling, banging, rattling, or hissing sounds. So when you notice these noises, it’s best to have your plumbing system checked immediately. These sounds can be a sign that they are about to rupture.
With that said, you may not be able to catch all indications of an impending rupture. Still, it’s possible to protect your property from further water damage by catching these signs of a burst pipe early:
- Higher Than Normal Water Bills: If you haven’t significantly changed your water consumption, a ruptured water line can be the reason behind your high utility costs.
- Low Water Pressure: A sudden and unexplained decrease in the water flow from your faucets could indicate a hole or rupture in one of your pipes.
What To Do if a Water Pipe Bursts
A burst water line can happen so suddenly that it can catch you off guard and overwhelm you. However, keep in mind that the first step to do is to turn off your main water supply – and to do it immediately. Doing so keeps more water from flooding your home, reaching your sockets, and causing more extensive damage.
If it’s safe, turn off all electrical appliances near the burst pipe too. Move your items and possessions to a dry place and quickly clean up the excess water.
Ultimately, don’t take on the entire cleanup task alone – get professional help as soon as possible. You want to contact companies specializing in frozen and burst pipe cleanup, as they have the skills and tools to fix the leak and the water damage it caused as well. With their help, you can return to your routine and get your home back to normal in no time.
Protect Yourself From Extensive and Costly Water Damage After a Burst Pipe
If you incur damage from a frozen or burst pipe, know that expert help is readily available. Restoration 1 has local teams nationwide that can help you efficiently clean up the mess after a plumbing emergency and keep further complications at bay. We also perform ceiling and wall water cleanup, flooded basement restoration, and mold remediation to address whatever water damage event you may have.
Contact us today and find a local expert to assist you. Our certified technicians will gladly take the time to understand your situation, explain the restoration process to you, and return your home to its pre-damage state.